Thinking about taking a trip once the days get longer and the temperature rises? Go for it. Here are our top 10 reasons to travel to Europe in summer. Whether you’re well-traveled or this is your first trip abroad, this season is a fantastic time to take in the culture, food, beaches and sights that Europe has to offer. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best European experiences, so if you’re not sure where to go or what to do when you get there, keep reading for suggestions on how to enjoy some of Europe’s greatest cities to the fullest.
1. Broaden your cultural horizons
Most visitors to Paris stick to the basics: the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, maybe a trip to the Palace of Versailles. If you’re feeling adventurous, Paris has a world of international markets and neighborhoods to explore where you can experience culture, food, and goods from all over the globe. The African markets in the Goutte d'Or district of the 18th Arrondissement boast some of the most exotic and welcoming atmospheres, especially the daily market near the Barbes-Rochechouart metro stop. We also have a number of Paris tours for you to make the most of this incredible destination!
2. Mix the past with the present in the Marais
The Marais district was traditionally the aristocratic area of Paris, and the legacy of this concentration of wealth can be seen in the neighborhood’s gorgeous architecture. A stroll through the Marais is a treat at any time of day, but in the evening the area really picks up, offering some of the best dining and nightlife in Paris. Those looking for a cultural fix will enjoy the Musee Picasso, and anyone who enjoys elegant-yet-affordable accommodations should to try to book a room at the Bastille De Launay.
3. Watch history being built at La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is the one do-not-miss attraction in Barcelona. Designed by Spain’s most famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, construction began on this magnificent, mind-blowing cathedral over a hundred years ago and continues to this day. Impossible to adequately describe in words, the architectural style has been described as “warped Gothic,” and many of the building’s rippling stone contours give the impression that the cathedral is melting in the sun.
4. Go native in La Raval
La Raval used to be an area to stay away from, but in recent years it has become one of the most accessible and interesting parts of the city. Located near but not in the main tourist area around La Rambla, La Raval has a laid-back feel and is an excellent place to spend a couple of hours people watching at a café, wandering through an open-air market, or simply soaking up true Catalan culture. The neighborhood is also a pleasant walk from Barcelona’s main beaches, and it has a variety of reasonably priced hotels.
5. Feel the pulse of flamenco at a tablao
A tablao is simply a restaurant with a stage, and it is the best type of venue for watching flamenco—Spain’s classic art form that fuses dance and live music in an unforgettable combination of passion, power, and grace. Casa Patas, Corral de la Pacheca, and Cardamomo are three of the more well-respected tablaos in Madrid, and they are crowded with locals most nights.
6. Dine at one of oldest restaurants in the world
El Sobrino de Botin has been serving classic Spanish cuisine for over 300 years, and it is still massively popular today. The restaurant specializes in roast suckling pig, known as cochinillo asado, and the restaurant and its most famous dish are both mentioned in the closing pages of regular patron Earnest Hemingway’s novel, "The Sun Also Rises."
7. Connect with your inner gladiator
You’ve probably seen the Colosseum in movies or TV shows dozens of times, but visiting it in the real world is as different as seeing a picture of a pizza and eating a slice. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum was completed in 80 AD and could hold up to 70,000 spectators. The amphitheater was used for gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, public executions, and dramas. Visiting the Colosseum feels like making a house call on the ghosts of ancient Rome, so prepare yourself for a memorable experience. These and many other Rome tours await!
8. Give in and eat some gelato
Gelato qualifies as a major food group in Rome, and Romans make some of the best gelato in the world. Il Gelato di San Crispino is reputed to be the finest gelateria in the city, so get a cup of whatever flavor or flavors strike your fancy and enjoy your gelato while paying a visit to nearby Trevi Fountain. This fountain is one of the most well-known tourist sites in Rome and has been featured in several movies, most famously in Federico Fellini’s "La Dolce Vita."
9. Catch a match at San Siro Stadium
San Siro Stadium is home to rival clubs AC Milan and FC Internazionale, so a visit to this temple of soccer is a must for any sports fans. Even on non-match days, the stadium is open for tours and the on-site museum can provide an up-close glimpse into the world of European football.
10. Become the most fashionable person you know
Milan is one of the world’s major fashion centers, and the Quadrilatero d'Oro (Rectangle of Gold), is the beating heart of Milan’s fashion scene. While most fashion-conscious cities have their boutiques spread over several neighborhoods, Milan helpfully concentrates all of its best shopping in one square. Window shopping is fine here, but if you do find something you can’t live without, rest assured—all the stores take credit cards.
Our Milan tours will help you uncover this vibrant northern Italian city.
Europe is at its finest in the summer, so if you’re considering at trip across the Atlantic in the next few months, don’t hesitate. Traveling in Europe is easy and enjoyable even for inexperienced travelers, and the continent’s excellent rail system makes traveling between cities a snap. Whether you prefer sampling new food, taking in historical sites, shopping, or just trying to blend in with the locals, visiting Europe will give you the chance to have one of the best summers ever!